Keeping Score: School Daze


(Excerpt from Keeping Score, the precursor story to Capturing Captain America)

Rosemary walked out of Kaja’s office toward the gym on the east wing of Padua High school. Rosemary was going to meet Erik. He would be at his locker as usual with an entire afternoon of free period to spare. Rosemary had independent study on the same afternoon so she could work with Erik and get credit for English for working on school newspaper stories.

Kaja didn’t know it but Erik and Rosemary had been dating since Thanksgiving. Mr. McGinty, the head of the English department, asked Rosemary to help Erik do a profile of the cheerleading team for not only the school paper but American Cheerleader magazine. Erik had been elected editor but was uncomfortable writing about dance routine and beauty tips for teenage girls.

Unlike Kaja, Erik supported Rosemary’s efforts to audition at the American Conservatory and pursue her acting ambitions. Erik himself wanted to make documentaries or produce the television news.

Rosemary found Erik at his locker sending text messages on his iPhone. He was in a deep text conversation on his latest story about the CalTrain station closures in San Francisco when Rosemary put her around around his shoulder.

“We need to get to the Conservatory on Geary.

”Erik looked up and left to see Rosemary smiling with mischief.

“Your audition isn’t till tommorrow.”

“I know but the selection committee is holding drop in try outs for the impatient applicants. Open auditions start at 2:00pm. We need to go now.”

“What exactly are you auditioning for?”

“The President’s full ride scholarship so I can study at the Conservatory for free. If I get this role of role of Ophelia for the stage version of Reviving Ophelia then the scholarship is mine!”

“Kaja is OK with that?”

“No. She told me to go to the libray but I’m going to text her that we’re going to work on an indpendant study project till 4:00pm. As long as I’m back for squad practice Kaja won’t question it.”

“What squad?”

“I made the cheerleading team yesterday. It’s my cover for all these acting auditions.”

“You have decided to follow in the footsteps of Gloria Steinem and go undercover on the cheerleading team? What would the staff at Ms. Magazine say?”

“They would say don’t wear those bunny outfits with the five inch heels.”

Kaja grabbed Erik’s hand and pulled him up from the floor. She wanted to go.

“What are you going to tell your mom when the Conservatory accepts you?”

“I’m going to have Ivan share the news with her.”

“You’re going to get your dad to do it? Are you kidding me?”

“Sure. He and I already talked. Ivan is going to sign the parental permission forms before he tells her.”

Erik had stopped being shocked by Rosemary’s behavior of playing her parents and guardians like chess pieces. It was the kind of mentality that made her a good reporter. Erik was still mildly surprised why Rosemary always referred to her parents by their first names or why neither Kaja nor her mother revealed to the students their actual relationship. I don’t understand the last half of this sentence.

An hour later Rosemary and Erik waited for the bus that would take them directly to downtown to the Conservatory. It would be another 10 minute wait so Erik waited while reading the latest news on his laptop. He knew that if they got questioned by Kaja about their whereabouts he’s need to prove they had done actual schoolwork.

Erik decided he would write a feature story during Rosemary’s audition about private for-profit post-secondary institutions being “mystery shopped” by the Department of Education as part of an undercover investigation on questionable admissions practices at for profit schools all over the country.

Rosemary looked impatient at the bus stop. She wanted to ace the audition and start networking for an agent. She and Erik were going to L.A. after graduation. Kaja couldn’t stop when the time came because the magic number 18 would mark her birthday by then.


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